Dan Abrams admits that Live PD made a mistake in erasing footage of the death of Javier Ambler, a 40-year-old black man who died in police custody after repeatedly being tased and telling officers "I can't breathe" during a traffic stop turned car chase. The A&E show chronicling the day-to-day life of police was canceled earlier this week amid growing protests against police brutality and racism in the wake of George Floyd's similar death in police custody.
In an interview with Good Morning America Friday, the longtime Live PD host addressed the show's renewed criticism for deleting footage of Ambler's death in March 2019, which was ruled a homicide. Explaining that the footage didn't air on TV because it showed a fatality, and the show is actually on a delay of between five and 25 minutes, Abrams added that the footage was deleted as per the show's policy of not retaining footage for more than 30 days.
.@ABC News analyst @danabrams , host and producer of “Live PD,” responds to the show’s cancellation and criticisms that police shows glamourize law enforcement. https://t.co/nw17MxyDZh pic.twitter.com/W87MTuNQIB— Good Morning America (@GMA) June 12, 2020
Aligning so strictly with this policy was a mistake, Abrams said: "I think there should have been an exception to the rule, we got too caught up in the standards." Abrams has spoken out repeatedly since the show's cancellation, saying on his SiriusXM radio show, The Dan Abrams Show, Thursday, "I think that it's very troubling that we're suddenly in a culture where all police officers have to suffer for the sins of a few. And I say that for every group, it's not just police officer."
"That doesn't mean we don't have to have a discussion about the inequities in our society. And not just a discussion – action. There should be changes," he continued, saying that while there had been "a real positive change" in the country lately, there is "also an overreaction going on."
When Live PD was pulled from the schedules amid growing protests, Abrams said he thought the network would discuss with the show's team how to "make the show better," but instead learned the show had been canceled. A&E said in a statement at the time that it had made the decision at a "critical time" in U.S. history. "Going forward, we will determine if there is a clear pathway to tell the stories of both the community and the police officers whose role it is to serve them," the network continued. "And with that, we will be meeting with community and civil rights leaders as well as police departments."